Schools and colleges across Chennai district will remain closed on Friday as the Tamil Nadu government focuses on relief efforts in areas severely impacted by recent heavy rainfall. Cyclone Michaung, which made landfall in coastal Andhra Pradesh, triggered extensive flooding in Chennai, claiming the lives of at least 20 people.
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has forecasted a fresh spell of rainfall with isolated heavy falls over south Peninsular India on December 8 and 9. The regional meteorological center in Chennai predicts heavy rain in various districts, including Nilgiris, Coimbatore, Tirupur, Dindigul, Theni, Chennai, Virudhunagar, Sivaganga, Pudukkottai, and Thanjavur.
To address the aftermath, Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary Shiv Das Meena announced the deployment of over 9,000 officials from other districts for relief work in Chennai. These efforts include tackling water stagnation, distributing food packets in flood-affected areas, and clearing fallen trees. Meena reported that 1,400 trees fell in Chennai, with ongoing efforts to clear the remaining 243 trees.
In terms of transportation, train services from Chennai Central and Chennai Egmore have been restored, with most mail/express services fully functional. However, anger and frustration among residents are palpable, as they claim to have received little warning or relief from the government. Some highlight the absence of government representatives and non-functional helplines during the crisis, as reported by NDTV.
Residents recount experiences from the 2015 floods, noting the stark contrast in the distribution of essential supplies and the government's responsiveness. Some blame the high tide for exacerbating the situation, making water outflow from the city impossible.
While the DMK government acknowledges its preparedness for rains, officials express that the magnitude of this deluge qualifies it as a "natural disaster." Residents voice concerns about blocked waterways due to construction projects, including those of film stars, medical colleges, and IT parks. Questions arise about the allocation of funds for development and the effectiveness of stormwater drains.
DMK spokesman Sarvanan Annadurai assures that the government will take necessary actions to restore normalcy within a day or two, emphasizing the unprecedented nature of the current situation compared to previous monsoons.